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Should You Consider a HDB Renovation Package?

You have probably read or heard different opinions about HDB renovation packages being a good option to save some money.

But are they really true?

While some might agree, there are others who think otherwise.

It really depends because every HDB flat homeowner’s needs are different.

Let’s dig deeper into this topic, so you’re able to make better judgement calls.

HDB Renovation Package - What Are Your Renovation Needs

What Are Your Renovation Needs?

Firstly, not everyone can afford or feels comfortable to splurge $60k on a HDB renovation.

Homeowners who are newly married or those with a lower income ceiling may face a tight renovation budget.

While there are some seniors or singles who don’t want to spend too much because they just want a basic functional home.

In the case of resale HDB flats, their previous owners could have done a fairly good renovation job, hence the new owners don’t see the need for massive makeovers.    

New EC (executive condominium) or a DBSS flat (Design, Build and Sell Scheme) have brand new flooring, toilets and cabinetry that are readily done.  

Whatever your reasons may be, first evaluate what your renovation needs are, so you can better decide if choosing a HDB renovation package makes financial sense and fits your bill.

What’s in a HDB Renovation Package?

A fixed list of items, including labour and materials costs are bundled in HDB renovation packages at a flat price.

Depending on the number of items and nature of work in each one of them, the price would also vary.

They are often organized in categories such as room types and property types. A typical example would be a 4-room new BTO flat renovation package.

As there are hundreds of different package deals marketed by renovation firms, we recommend that you do fair comparisons amongst those that are relevant to your needs.

It is a common practice for companies to indicate clearly a comprehensive list of the work items offered.

This makes it easy for you to understand what’s in the deal and help you in choosing the right renovation package.

Here’s an example:

A: Design Works

  • Design consultation & space planning
  • Design proposal & 3D perspective drawing
  • Selection of colour, material & accessories
  • Consultant & project management
  • Site inspection / work schedule
  • 12 months warranty with guaranteed after sales service on water proofing
  • 24 months warranty with guaranteed after sales service on workmanship


B: Masonry Works

  • Construct 50mm kitchen cabinet base c/w side tiling
  • Construct 50mm fridge & washing machine bases c/w full tiling


C: Carpentry works – Kitchen

  • Design, fabricate & install 20ft (L) designer kitchen cabinet in solid-ply high grade laminate finish
  • ABS Trimmings doors & handles
  • 1 set frosted glass panel c/w wooden frame
  • 1 set of 2 tier stainless steel dish drainer & 1 set of cutlery tray

What You Should Take Note Of

Most homeowners don’t know how and what questions to ask. This is a common mistake.

That’s why we want to raise the awareness of this topic here, so you won’t get short-changed or experience unpleasant surprises.


Cheap Deals    

Do not be blinded by low prices.

Remember, quality will always equate to cost. 

If you come across a package with unbelievably low prices, we strongly urge you to skip them.

Without having to elaborate, it’s obvious why you should do so.


Work Item Descriptions 

Ethical renovation companies provide a comprehensive breakdown with detailed item descriptions in their package deals.

All items should be methodically described with words that are easily understood by you.

Avoid packages that have vaguely written item descriptions.


Fine Prints & Hidden Fees      

Although legally compliant and acceptable in advertising rules, be aware that some renovation offers may have strings attached in fine prints.

When you meet up with the firm’s sales representative, find out everything about the package mechanics.

Clarify if there are hidden fees or conditions that come with what’s being offered.

Find out if you’re allowed to swap for alternatives at the same price and what are the additional costs for add-ons.


Materials

For HDB renovation packages that comprise of items like carpentry or cabinetry work, flooring, kitchen or toilet accessories, request to see the actual material(s) or sample(s).

Nothing beats seeing the real thing so you can touch, feel and judge their quality.

Sometimes, a renovation firm may not display all the items in their showroom. In such a case, ask to view pictures or illustrations with product specifications and measurements.

Ask how it is possible for you to view the actual items. Perhaps you can return another day or visit the supplier’s showroom instead?

Understand the composition of the materials supplied. Are they ceramic floor tiles? What sort of wood is used to fabricate the kitchen cabinets?


Measurements

Often times, cabinetry or carpentry work are only indicated in length measurements (e.g. 20ft kitchen cabinet).

However, the height and depth measurements are almost never stated in the descriptions.

So remember to ask what the exact measurements you will be getting. Does it include the upper row of kitchen cabinets? How many doors and shelves will there be?

Request them to be written down in the renovation contract and also the plan drawings.


Warranty

Always opt for a warranty to be included. This is a form of insurance to protect yourself, in case of any inferior workmanship.

The standard warranty given is usually a 1-year period. 

Take note that some companies may not offer any warranty coverage in their renovation package deals.

Extra costs may incur if you want to include workmanship warranty.

So if you do not see this in the item description, ask and clarify.


Payment Terms & Milestones

Find out what are the terms of payment and have them written down in black and white in the renovation agreement/ contract.  

Do not pay the full package cost upfront!

We came across some homeowners who made this mistake and ended up with very unpleasant experiences with the renovation firm.

Release a payment only when a work milestone is completed as agreed in the contract.

Here’s a sample milestone schedule for your reference:

Deposit upfront after contract signed: 10%

Hacking and demolition: 15%

Masonry and concrete: 15%

Carpentry work: 15%

Electrical wiring and plumbing: 15%

Painting and clean up: 15%

Final customer approval: 15%

 

Miscellaneous    

Most homeowners tend to overlook these items below.

Ask if flooring protective sheets or coverings are included in the renovation package. If this is not indicated, it’s usually chargeable at your end.

For hacking or demolition works, make sure haulage and debris removal is listed in the package.

Is general cleaning or chemical cleaning provided after renovation is completed?

Other than the tips provided here, safeguard yourself further with a  list of the top 14  home renovation mistakes that you should avoid. 

HDB Renovation Package - Why They May Be Right For You

Why They May Be Right For You

HDB renovation packages do have a big plus-point – they consolidate labour and material at one flat price, so you don’t have to constantly renegotiate.

However, we also want to emphasize that these package deals are not guaranteed solutions to lower renovation costs. 

Everything has their advantages and disadvantages.

To get the best out of a situation, evaluate your requirements and know what your needs are before committing.

If you have any of the requirements below, it’s worthwhile to consider a renovation package.

  • For those with a tight budget. Basic renovations can be done for your HDB flat at affordable costs.

  • BTO flat owners can get a fairly decent renovation for around $25K.

  • You only need to remodel the kitchen or toilets.

  • You don’t need fanciful interior designs for your property.

  • You are not considering expensive materials such as marble, granite, parquet, etc.

  • You don’t need any hacking/ demolition work or customised carpentry work (because these could cost quite a fair bit).
     
  • Some package deals offer complimentary gifts such as cooking hobs, hoods, water heaters, etc. Helps you to save a few hundred dollars on these appliances. 

Why They May Not Be Right For You

Although the costs of renovating has seen a 20% increase since last year, there are homeowners who don’t mind forking out more.

If you belong in this category, these flat-priced bundles are probably not your cup of tea.

We’ll list out some reasons why opting for a HDB renovation package may not be right for you.

  • Your choice of services, materials, fittings are limited, and may not achieve your intended outcomes.

  • You have little or almost no flexibility to build fixtures according to custom specifications.

  • You pay extra fees for anything that are not in the package.

  • The materials supplied are acceptable but cannot compare with high-quality ones and may have a shorter life span.

  • Things such as electrical works, tempered glass backing, windows, grilles, door gates, etc. are not included in most package bundles.

  • If your goal is to achieve a unique look or design theme for your HDB flat, package deals are unable to offer you this.

Final Thoughts

As there are many types of bundled offers for HDB flat renovations, take some time to research, evaluate and compare them.

It’s very important to find one that will closely match your needs and budget.

After you have shortlisted the package offers, you should view important background checks of the companies. 

By doing so, you can easily identify which company has a good reputation, their accreditation references, customer reviews, HDB Demerit Points (if any) and reasons for non-compliance, etc.

The more you know about the company, the safer it will be to ensure that you are hiring a reliable renovation professional.

Bestrenovation.sg also gives you the convenience to do real-time chats with hundreds of renovation contractors and interior design firms on your mobile phone or desktop.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions and make sure you have all the information you need to make a decision before you meet them personally.

If you are already know a renovation firm whom you can trust, or have personal recommendations from someone you know, this would make things much easier.

They can give you valuable insights on what you can expect if you were to hire the renovation firm.

Good luck and we are sure you will find a suitable renovation package for your HDB renovation.

Author Cheryl

Cassandra Lee

“Loves travel, all sorts of food and does not own a TV.”